The codebase for SQLServerCentral is old. Not as old as it looks, since our developers tried to keep the look and feel of the original site when they upgraded the underlying framework in 2009. Since then we’ve made a few changes, but not a lot of development. Like many of you working in organizations, I struggle for development resources when there are higher priority projects inside the company. I think I’m a bit of a victim of my own success here as the site has remained popular despite the aging design.
Around September 2016, we did get more resources and a project approved to make changes. The first of which is an upgrade to our forum software. We’ve been running an old version of InstantForum, which was customized to integrate into the rest of the site. After evaluating quite a few options, we decided the newest version of this software was the best fit and have had developers working on integration as well as sending feedback to the vendor about some bugs we’ve discovered (and fixed). They’ve taken some pull requests from us, and since we’ve abstracted some of our customizations away from their codebase, we should be able to take upgrades and improvements over time.
This is a large change, with a database upgrade, data movement, and large deployment of changes. After many practice runs and a beta test period with a number of users, we’re ready to deploy the new software. Our plan is to deploy the changes on the early morning (UK Time) of January 12th, and the site will have a short outage during this time.
While much of the appearance of the main site will be similar, the underlying forum code and styling has been revamped with some new features and integration with SPAM detection engines. Hopefully that will cut down on some of the annoying posts we’ve seen across the last year. My fingers are crossed for that this happens.
This should be a smooth upgrade, and I have confidence in the technology team that’s been working on this project. At the core, however, the mission of SQLServerCentral is to educate you, and that doesn’t depend on technology. We seek to publish information that helps you learn more about SQL Server and allow to ask questions and get answers to the problems you face in your work. When we come back up on the 12th Jan, we’ll get back to the business of helping you get better at your job.